How Music Got Its Edge Back: Indie Meets Rap

Hip-Hop and rap are experiencing a strong resurgence of late (don’t call it a comeback!). After years of indie rock and pop ruling the airwaves, young people are looking for a new sound to call their own, branching out into electronic and rediscovering rap.At SXSW this year, fans could catch shows from heavy hitters including Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Wiz Kalifa, as well as lesser-known acts.Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are headlining Coachella this summer.

The meshing of the indie and rap scenes is having an interesting effect on music. Taking a cue from indie bands, newer acts like Azealia Banks are creating a new sound that could almost be called “Indie Rap.” The Harlem-native’s songs are most definitely “R-rated” and fierce, but instead of rhyming about “thug life,” she raps about urban life, making her badass, but also relatable. It’s that cross-over potential that brings both rap fans and indie fans to her shows.

Urban music needed an infusion of edge to recapture the attention of young people. Hip-hop legends like Jay-Z and Kanye have gone mainstream, getting wider airplay and gaining older fans (while simultaneously cleaning up their style, rapping less about illegal activities and more about luxury lifestyle). Young music fans were looking for something to call their own — music their parents wouldn’t listen to but that they could still relate to. It’s the same reason they’re straying away from the indie genre: hipsters and soccer moms aren’t supposed to like the same music.

In the same vein as acts like Odd Future, Azealia Banks is making her mark by being irreverent and very NSFW, simultaneously alienating older audiences and intriguing young Millennials. The video for her biggest hit so far, “212,” has been viewed more than 7.5 million times, but contains so many naughty…

 
 
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Quote of the Day: “The best part about driving is the control of when, how, and where you go. The worst part is that there is a lot of responsibility in your hands, especially if you are with your family.” -Female, 32, TX

We’ve told you before that Millennials are turning to new tools that let them harness their own data for their own personal benefit and enjoyment. The new app Pplkpr (pronounced “people keeper”) does just that, using a combination of tracked body metrics and self-reporting to determine which friends make users happy, and which have a negative impact on them. Using a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, the app measures physical response while one is hanging out with friends, learning over time which friends create anxiety, boredom, excitement, and concluding whether or not a friend is toxic. The app’s creators say Pplkpr was created partly as a criticism for the decisions we allow data to make for us, but there is clearly some interest around the idea. (Huffington PostMashable)

Gaming is becoming more and more mobile as major consoles “unplug” from TV. Microsoft has announced that Xbox One players can enjoy gameplay on any Widows 10 device, including tablets and PCs. The announcement “completes the trifecta” of consoles that have taken steps to include off-TV play. Yes, TV screens are biggest, but TV's communal nature is not necessarily appealing to gamers when many games are solitary pursuits. “We’re gravitating towards the personal” and TVs immobility can make it less convenient—in both gaming and entertainment streaming. (Wired

Meet Elena, Disney’s first ever Latina princess. Elena will have her own show on Disney Junior set to air in 2016, and is inspired by "diverse Latin cultures and folklore." Disney announced that a Latina heroine was in the works after some confusion and criticism arose over the ethnicity of the (now extremely popular) character Sofia the First. Though Elena’s premiere is some time off, it is clear that many communities are happy to see Disney embracing diversity in their characters and shows. (BuzzFeed)

YouTube celebrities are getting more than deals for their own web series, TV shows, and movies: the trend of YouTube authors is growing. Although some have questioned the vloggers’ capabilities as writers, recent books published by YouTube stars have seen unexpected successes. Grace’s Heibig’s Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Upeven became a New York Times bestseller. It was just announced that four top YouTubers will even host their own session at BookCon, the largest literary event for authors, publishers, and readers. Justine Ezarik, Shane Dawson, Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa will speak about their new literary efforts with Keywords Press, an Atria Books imprint specially created for online video stars and their fans. (StreamDaily)

Reebok is leaving out celebrity athletes and making everyday young fitness enthusiasts the stars of their new marketing campaign, “Become More Human,” which focuses on the “new brand of athlete.” The first spot features footage of normal people pushing themselves physically, and includes shots of extreme races that Millennials have embraced. The campaign goes beyond commercials with a #BreakYourSelfie Instagram initiative and the “Be More Human Experience,” an interactive website that helps users to compare their physical traits against other members. (The Drum)

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